Is suffering the key to happiness?

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It’s a controversial question, that’s for sure. Not an easy, or perhaps attractive topic for a blog post! “Trends” would recommend that I approach ‘lighter’ topics knowing that it may be, for many of you, a sensitive topic. At least for me it is!

But I felt that in order to be true to myself I could not avoid such a question. Because we cannot pretend to truly love ourselves, work towards that greater purpose without unfolding the layers of our consciousness and release our deepest fears.

Brené Brown’s concept of vulnerability implies total honesty towards ourselves and each other. So I decided that it was my bet: total transparency and truthfulness for the sake of my sanity.

From the perspective of two major aspects of my life experiences, here are tentatively (because life is a continuous work in progress) the main reasons why I believe we should have an unbreakable faith in life.

  1. Financial struggles pave the way to self-appreciation and self-love

It is very hard to understand and accept the fact that you simply don’t have enough for your living and even harder when you just want to free yourself from accumulated debt. But, when in the middle of such chaos, you start to realize that you are far more than what you are lacking in, that is precisely the moment you realize your true value as a human being rather than from a materialistic perspective. What is money at the end of the day but a piece of paper to which we humans give value? One’s value is not linked to how much one holds in one’s bank account but to the unique qualities that each one of us holds. That is our real value. And when we realize that, we regain this sense of self-appreciation that empowers us and finally allows us to build financial security for ourselves.

  1. Friends, relationships: a complex system of the different facets of my personality

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Friends and relationships are always a self-reflection of who you think you are. During these many years where I did not really like who I was I used my relationships with others to fuel the idea of who I wanted to be. It ended up in comparison, constantly struggling and trying to fit the image of who I thought I needed to be. A friend of mine, once describing a relationship that she felt was harmful to me, once told me: “Myriam, this relationship does not fit you. You are trying to squeeze into a size 34 when you are actually a size 40! Just accept who you are”… It was said. And it hurt. But funnily enough I had to pass through this disruptive phase to realize how beautiful I was by simply being me. And I did J So instead of mudding into regrets, you should thank every single person who crossed your way and made you doubt yourself because they are certainly the opportunities that Life is giving you to free you out of your shell.

So is suffering the key to happiness? We need to acknowledge that suffering is an act of life that cannot be ignored and which all of us are confronted with, be it physical, psychological or spiritual. And each form of suffering is interdependent. When any of these kinds of suffering manifests itself, it creates a void in us that needs to be fulfilled. Our boundaries are pushed back and this process allows us to grow.

I would say that happiness is a way of living not a destination to reach. Life is a gift not a given so we should use any opportunity to live fully and make the best out of the time that is given to us during this lifetime. No one said it had to be easy but it is all in the way we perceive things and situations. Accepting pain, as part of our life is crucial, using it wisely to learn out of it and live lives of fulfillment.

What is your notion of happiness? What is the kind of suffering you experienced?

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